Quantum Computing and Information

Jerry McGann has been talking about quantum models of textuality for some time. (See McGann, “Preface to _Radiant Textuality: Literary Studies After the World Wide Web_”, Romanticism and Contemporary Culture, Praxis Series, Romantic Circles.)

In general whenever Jerry is interested in something it is worth thinking about, even when I don’t get it. Here, therefore are some links on quantum computing.

An introduction to Quantum Computing is a short and clear introduction.
Quantum Computation and Quantum Information is the site to a book with that title where you can download/read the first chapter.
Seb’s Open Research blog also has an entry on Quantum computing weblogs (Note:¬†blog now gone). This entry got me going on the subject.

A quote from McGann:

Anyone who works with texts in disciplined ways, and especially those interested in their rhetorical and aesthetic properties, understands very well the incommensurability of textual forms. How to gain some clarity and control over our textual condition has been a perpetual human concern, and is a central concern of this book as well. It is organized to show how the work at University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) from 1993-2000 led to the practical implementation of catastrophe and quantum models for the critical investigation of aesthetic forms. Suggestive as the ideas of quantum mechanics have been for many humanities scholars, the scale of quantum effects has seemed far removed from the apparent scale of textual and semiotic phenomena. The latter involve macroscopic events, the former submicroscopic, indeed, quantum effects are, in the view of many, not objective events at all but simply types of measurements and calculations executed for certain practical ends.

Here is a quote from a review of Radiant Textuality: Ron Broglio, On Jerome McGann, Radiant Textuality: Literature after the World Wide Web – Romantic Circles Reviews, Romantic Circles.

For Mallarm√© the book works like a machine for producing the very orders that bring it into existence typographically, musically, and poetically. The book is not simply a carrier of information but rather itself a thought machine that produces worlds and readers both real and imaginary. Mallarm√©’s experiment provides an-other horizon for the book and for new media humanities. Using the poet’s work as a model, McGann approaches the problem: “How can we exploit digital tools to augment critical reflection both on and within bookspace?” (214). His response is The Ivanhoe Game. In the game mode, “action does not take place outside but inside the object of attention” (218). This mode enacts McGann’s idea of a quantum poetic: since neither the reading subject nor the textual object provides a stable ground for interpretation, each shifts in relation to the other so that there is no “outside” space, no Archimedean point from which to leverage an objective reading. In response to the problem of grounding meaning, gaming allows the readers to work from within the literary texts and produce their own textual commentary which becomes part of the playing field alongside the literary object.